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BBC - Good news and cause for wonder

Mona Charen writes,

My family has been completely transfixed by the BBC series Planet Earth . Five years in the making, this spectacular 11-part documentary goes far beyond any nature programs in history. Photography is breathtaking. Information is fascinating. You will want to own it (though it is also available at Netflix) because it is worth watching again and again. We do not have a HD DVD player, but even on a standard player the photography is absolutely eye-popping. It isn't excessively preachy. Global warming is mentioned only once or twice. The message is more implicit — who would want to tamper with this glorious creation?

Back from a rose garden, and with memories of English country in my mind, I would say some human “tampering” has been just fine.

In a more provocative opinion, Guy Herbert reports that the BBC has a worthwhile report on the governmental thinking behind ID cards, which seems to be the increasingly insufferable we know best so we’ll tell you how to live.

Guy notes that the BBC Charter has changed. Apparently impartiality was too difficult a standard for the news organization to achieve so Parliament amended the Charter, relegating impartiality to "a 'supplementary Agreement' between the BBC Trust and Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport".

In the new Charter, the BBC exists “to serve the public interest” and its “main object is the promotion of its Public Purposes”, including “sustaining citizenship and civil society; promoting education and learning; stimulating creativity and cultural excellence; representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities; and bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK.”

Given our own aim to talk about the best of the Brits, one hesitates to call the BBC a flack on account of those last two objectives. But as you are aware, "Public Purposes" can mean anything at all. It lacks the rubber hits the road quality of impartiality. The attempt to be impartial gives discipline and a necessary skepticism to the collection and reporting of news.

One might argue that the BBC never was impartial, that the background radiation of culture always infused its reports. Nevertheless, impartiality was and is a worthwhile goal, though, as noted, difficult to achieve. "If it were easy, everyone would be doing it."

Thanks to Instapundit for alerting us to the Guy Herbert report.

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